Ensemble Irini: LE PRINTEMPS SACRÉ
The programme prepared by Ensemble Irini, combining Eastern and Western music, was conceived as an ode to life, joy and hope. Through these emotions and values, it not only profoundly expresses the truth of the Resurrection feast, but also attempts to define it against the backdrop of the crises we are currently experiencing.
The selected works are juxtaposed in an allegorical narrative about the parallel fates of the 15th-century Florence and Georgia, both of which were shaken by tragic events at similar times. The former was home to Heinrich Isaac, a composer rarely recalled today and, in his era, one of the main competitors of the great Josquin des Prés. He probably came from Flanders, but spent most of his life in Italy. After the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent, his patron, and the burning at the stake of the preacher-reformer Savonarola, Florence was in turmoil. Isaac therefore left his beloved city and returned there only a dozen years later. During the same period, Georgia, weakened by numerous invasions by the armies of neighbouring countries, was divided into three smaller kingdoms, and the Gelati Monastery, the country’s musical centre, was burnt down by the Ottoman army in 1510. The fact that such an impressive musical tradition could have been preserved in a country constantly torn by war for centuries seems a miracle. Their very existence makes one think that resurrection, as an idea, can resonate strongly also in the context of art that, when destroyed, is constantly reborn thanks to the efforts of the people who love it.
Lila Hajosi – conductor, artistic director
Sacred Spring: Life | Death | Revival. Heinrich Isaac’s motets | liturgical songs of Georgia in the 15th-16th centuries